DD1433 Healthy Schools London Website

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
26 November 2015
Decision by: 
Jeff Jacobs, Head of Paid Service

Executive summary

Healthy Schools London (HSL), part of the Mayor’s London Obesity Programme, is an awards scheme that supports and recognises school achievements in pupil health and wellbeing. Since the programme first launched in April 2013, it has gained investment from 29 boroughs and roughly two-thirds of London schools.  The main route via which these schools engage with HSL is the programme’s website. 

This request is to allocate money from the existing HSL budget to fund improvements to the programme’s website, making it more usable and efficient as well as fixing a number of issues that have been identified. These changes are necessary for the website to continue acting as a viable portal for engaging with schools and boroughs, which is essential for programme delivery.

DD824 initially approved the website at a cost of £50k and ADD135 approved additional expenditure of £15k to enhance functionality. This further expenditure will take the website to a cost of £75k.


The Executive Director approves expenditure of up to £10,000 from the London Obesity Programme budget (MD 1151) to fund the services to enhance the functionality on the Healthy Schools London website.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    Children in London are more likely to be overweight or obese than their peers in the rest of England, and are growing up in a city where it is the norm to be overweight (more than half of adult Londoners are overweight).  Around 4,000 Londoners die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. This has implications across the life course.  Obesity takes people out of the labour market, with significant costs from loss of productivity from sickness, absence and early disability. It is estimated that 26,500 Londoners claim disability living allowance as a result of obesity and diet related health issues. The cost of obesity to London’s economy is around £2 billion annually. This is on top of £2.3 billion in annual costs to the NHS in London. 

1.2    The Mayor’s Healthy Schools London programme, part of the wider GLA Obesity Programme (funded under MD 1151), represents a London-wide initiative to addressing obesity before many of these costs are incurred, through prevention and early intervention.  Originally launched in April 2013, the programme has since gained the support of 29 boroughs, which have invested staff and money into the borough-level delivery of the programme.  Additionally, more than two-thirds of London schools have engaged with it, over 700 schools have earned a Bronze Award and more than 180 schools have earned a Silver.  

1.3    The Healthy Schools London website was first launched in April 2013 and is one of the Healthy Schools London’s primary vehicles for engaging with its stakeholders. The website was set up with funding from the London Health Improvement Board (LHIB). The 50k that the website cost was not paid for by the Mayor of London but by NHS London (DD824).  

1.4    This proposal is to allocate money from the existing Healthy Schools London budget (part of the London Obesity Programme –MD1151) to deliver improvements to the website, make it more usable and efficient as well as to fix a number of issues that have been identified. These changes are necessary for the website to continue acting as a viable portal for engaging with schools and boroughs.

1.5    The programme’s URL is not part of the london.gov.uk website because it was commissioned when HSL was funded by the London Health Improvement Board (DD824) and not the Mayor. The contract with this supplier ended in March 2013, and the site is now hosted by the GLA. The website was fully functioning when it was launched.  When the website was first conceived, the GLA Web Team advised that we should budget approx. £20k per year in order to maintain the Healthy Schools London website and fix any problems. The Web team stated that this is usual practice for any website that grows in user numbers over time as problems will arise and new functionality will be required. When the website was launched in April 2013, there were 4 registered users. There are now over 10,000 registered users (1602 schools, 60 borough Leads/Contacts, 8000 users registered to receive the Newsletter). The first round of fixes and enhancements were made in January 2014 (ADD135) with a spend of up to £15k. Total spend on the website since 2013 is £65k (50K from LHIB and £15k from IPB.

1.6    Since January 2014, the programme has attracted a huge number of new users. In January 2014, there were 700 registered schools and now (Oct 2015), there are 1602 registered schools) The Newsletter ‘send function’ no longer works because of the high volume of email recipients that the Newsletter must be sent to. Awards are coming to an end and we require additional Award boxes for schools gaining additional Awards. We need to be able to produce more sophisticated reports with larger amounts of data. When the staff lead for Healthy Schools London in a school leaves and a new person takes over (this is a big issue with the high staff turnover in schools in London), the new member of staff is unable to add themselves as a user to the existing school. These are a selection of the fixes and enhancements required to make the website function properly for users and for managing the HSL Awards Programme. 

1.7    The intention is for the Healthy Schools London website to be brought under the london.gov.uk website following the current redesign of the london.gov.uk website. As the Webteam are busy finalising the updated London.gov.uk website, the migration of all microsites will take place from April 2016 to September 2016. We do not know when the Healthy Schools London website might be incorporated within London.gov.uk within this timeframe. It is not anticipated that any functionality would change within the Healthy Schools London website when it joins with London.gov.uk therefore any changes made to the website now will be maintained upon transfer. The Healthy Schools London website is the main portal for London schools to engage with the programme. Until the time when the Healthy Schools London website is part of London.gov.uk, the Healthy Schools London Team will ensure the website meets the Mayor of London brand guidelines. 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The proposed changes will improve the user experience of the site and fix existing problems. The Technology Group at the GLA was consulted at an early stage and will be developing a technical specification as well as project managing the procurement and implementation of the work in order to ensure the most appropriate and cost effective solution to these issues. The anticipated cost (based on previous work on the site) is expected to be up to £15,000.

2.2    Currently, 69% of all London schools are registered on the site (1,621 schools) which is on target with KPI’s originally agreed with IPB. In order to reach up to 90% of all London schools, refinements and improvements need to be made to the site. The enhancements include:

•    Improving usability of schools registration
•    Improving notifications and school reports available to the GLA team and borough leads
•    Updating the Awards information content to account for multiple or expired awards
•    Enabling Google Analytics to track user data
•    Making changes to the information fields for the Awards applications
•    Fixing various problems with the existing features on the site
•    Fixing problems with the newsletter and its mailing list.

2.3    A full specification has been prepared that will be used by the Technology Group to procure this support.

Equality comments

3.1    A Health Inequalities Impact Assessment (HIIA) was conducted in March of 2013, prior to HSL’s launch, to consider the impact of the programme on disadvantaged groups, who already suffer poorer health.  The HIIA informed delivery of the HSL programme in order to minimise the risk of any potential negative impacts on disadvantaged groups.

3.2    More recently, a health inequalities mapping and participation analysis was conducted by the GLA Health Team to determine if the programme was having a positive effect on health inequalities.  The analysis determined that London schools which have achieved the HSL Bronze award have a higher proportion of deprived pupils compared to schools which are not involved with the programme.  

3.3    On average, schools that have achieved the Healthy Schools London Bronze award have 26% more pupils who are eligible for free school meals, looked after or are children of service personnel.

Other considerations

a) Key Risks and Issues

Risk description and potential impact



Mitigation / Risk Response

Failure to continue delivering the HSL programme


To date, more than 66% of London schools have engaged with the HSL programme and over 700 schools have earned an award.  Without a functional website, the GLA will be unable to meet current and future needs for delivery, particularly the verification of HSL awards.  This will result in schools failing to receive awards for the work they submit.


Impact: High


Likelihood: High



Delivery of the work as set out in this proposal.


Improvements to the website will support the continued efficient submission of HSL awards applications and the sign-up of new schools not yet engaging with the programme.  These are essential for ongoing programme delivery.

Reputational risk to GLA and Mayor associated with high profile, public facing website.


Londoners, boroughs and delivery partners engage with the HSL via the website, and the quality of this portal reflects on the work of the GLA and the Mayor.  An inefficient or noticeably malfunctioning website would constitute a reputational risk as it could be perceived as the Mayor delivering poor quality work.


Impact: Medium


Likelihood: High



Delivery of the work as set out in this proposal.


Improvements to the website will ensure that this public-facing portal continues to be attractive, usable and a good reflection on the Mayor and the GLA.


The proposed improvements to the website also include fixing an issue with the newsletter mailing list, which is a substantial obstacle to effectively engaging with stakeholders.


b) Links to Mayoral Strategies and Priorities 

The Healthy Schools London Programme supports the delivery of the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy as well as the response to the London Health Commission and the work of the London Health Board, which maintains mental health and adolescent resilience as one of its priorities.  The Healthy Schools London Programme also has the potential to support delivery of a variety of Mayoral priorities related to the London Flagship Food Boroughs, London Schools’ Gold Club, sport, culture, TfL, planning and volunteering teams.

c) Impact Assessments and Consultations

As mentioned in section 3 ‘Equality Comments’ the Healthy Schools London Programme has undergone a Health Inequalities Impact Assessment and a health inequalities mapping and participation analysis to ensure the programme does not negatively impact already disadvantaged groups.  Additionally, the Healthy Schools London programme was developed with extensive stakeholder consultation, involving boroughs’ public health and education teams; teachers, headteachers, GLA colleagues and national government. This consultation work shaped the delivery model and helped to establish the necessary delivery networks. Stakeholder consultation continues to be an integral part of the programme’s delivery.

Financial comments

5.1     The estimated cost of this project is up to £10,000 and will be funded from the Obesity Programme budget for 2015-16 held within the Health & Communities Unit. Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

Delivery support for the HSL programme will be delivered via external support procured in line with GLA HR procedures.  The anticipated timeline is as follows:



Tender published

December 2015

Shortlisting and interviews



December 2015

Delivery begins

January 2016

Delivery end

March 2016

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